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CCC&TI Celebrates 2023 Graduates

Published: 5/15/2023

Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute honored more than 900 graduates from its Caldwell Campus in Hudson and Watauga Campus in Boone during ceremonies held Friday, May 12, 2023 at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center in Lenoir.

CCC&TI Board of Trustees Members Dale Hamby and Joel Carroll opened the ceremony by welcoming special guests, congratulating the graduates and listing some of the Class of 2023’s accomplishments.

The Class of 2023 included:

  • 356 first-generation college graduates
  • Graduates ranging in age from 17 to 69, with the average age being 25
  • 104 graduates who earned multiple credentials
  • 24 Dream Scholars; and
  • 32 TRIO/Student Support Services graduates

CCC&TI Trustee Ann Smith presented this year’s Trustees’ Student Awards of Merit to Kylee Walker and Jamilet Rou. The awards are selected based on faculty nominations for outstanding academic achievement, extracurricular activities and community service.

This year’s commencement speaker was 2009 CCC&TI graduate Dana Boone. She is an award-winning leader in the digital marketing space and has worked for a variety of national brands including Hendrick Motorsports, Visit North Carolina, Bojangles, the Transformers movie franchise, Lowe’s Home Improvement and JCPenney.

Boone came to CCC&TI after graduating from West Caldwell High School. During her time at CCC&TI, she served as president of the Student Government Association in 2008 before graduating in 2009. She went on to UNC Charlotte where she served as News Editor at the Niner Times before graduating cum laude in 2012.

She currently serves as Senior Director of Brand, Social Media, and Influencer Strategy at JCPenney where she leads a team dedicated to building brand saliency and relevancy for this iconic American brand.

Boone shared with graduates her guiding principle over the years: “I don’t know, but I’ll figure it out.” Boone reminded students that it’s OK to not have all the answers, as long as you keep working to find answers, get out of your comfort zone and strive to be successful. “As you leave tonight and look ahead to whatever is next for you, whether it’s continuing your education, applying for new jobs in your field or advancing at your current workplace, never let yourself be confined to your job description. Opportunities rarely come when you’re just doing what you’re told to do. To make magic for your own life, you have to say yes to things that are a stretch,” said Boone. “You have to learn to say, ‘I don’t know, but I’ll figure it out.’ Congratulations!”

In his charge to graduates, CCC&TI President Dr. Mark Poarch congratulated the Class of 2023 on a job well done. “Thank you and congratulations to each of you on your commitment, your dedication and most of all your success. You have so much to be proud of tonight. Today is your day,” said Poarch. “My hope is that you leave with a great sense of pride in your accomplishments and in this amazing institution… as alumni you will forever be part of the Cobra Family.”

CCC&TI Graduates 2023

CCC&TI celebrated the graduation of more than 900 students with two ceremonies Friday night at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center in Lenoir.

Graduates turning their tassels

CCC&TI graduates turn their tassels at the conclusion of Friday’s graduation ceremony at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center in Lenoir.

Marcus Medcalf & Dr. Poarch

CCC&TI President Dr. Mark Poarch poses for a photo with graduate Marcus Metcalf during Friday’s graduation ceremonies at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center in Lenoir.

Roberta Hewitt & Dr. Poarch

CCC&TI President Dr. Mark Poarch poses for a photo with graduate Roberta Hewitt during Friday’s graduation ceremonies at the J.E. Broyhill Civic Center in Lenoir.